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If Water Is Renewable, Why Do We Need to Conserve It?

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November 4th, 2022

By Jane Marsh

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) says that water makes up 71% of the earth. Although 96.5% comes from our oceans, water also appears in rivers and lakes, glaciers, aquifers, ground moisture, the air, and living organisms.

Earth’s water is recirculated naturally throughout the water cycle. Yet, the fact that it’s a renewable resource might make you wonder why there’s such an urgency to conserve it. Additionally, if water is finite, why are parts of the American West in the midst of their most critical water crisis yet?

You’ll need to understand how the water cycle works and the state of water worldwide to answer these questions.

An Overview of the Water Cycle

Water is the most essential resource that sustains life on earth. Appearing in three forms – solid, liquid, and gas – water connects the different parts of the climate system, including air, clouds, water bodies, vegetation, and colder regions.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) describes the process as water in constant motion throughout the planet and atmosphere. The evaporated liquid turns into water vapor, which subsequently becomes clouds. When the clouds release precipitation, rain and snowfall make their way back to the earth.

Water infiltrates the earth’s surface, seeping into the ground, plants, and larger water bodies, eventually evaporating again. Other times, water will freeze, as glaciers and ice caps, then become gases.

Water takes a long time to move through the cycle’s different phases. As a result, water allocation differs worldwide, posing a threat to future resource availability.

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